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Last quarter hits French wine exports

Published:  19 February, 2009

The head of the French Federation of Wine & Spirits Exporters has warned of difficult times ahead after export sales tumbled in the last three months of 2008.

Claude de Jouvencal said France exported Euro 9.3 billion worth of wine in 2008, a 0.3% fall on 2007.

De Jouvencal added that 2009 would be a "difficult year, without a doubt".

The US is still the biggest importer of wine form France, though shipments fell 12.8% during the year to Euro 1.7 billion.

Spirits exports to the US were 16.3% down on 2007.

Sales of wines and spirits in the UK - the second biggest export destination - were down 2.7% to Euro 1.5 billion.

Losses in mature markets were offset by growth of 4.3% in China.

Sales of Burgundy and Champagne fell back but the release of the acclaimed 2005 Bordeaux vintage in early 2008 helped that region post an increase.